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article imageApple admits 'Touch Disease' is real, blames users for damage

By James Walker     Nov 18, 2016 in Technology
Several months after the iPhone 6's "touch disease" problem first hit the headlines, Apple has acknowledged that the touchscreens on some phones may stop working. However, it is blaming users for dropping the handsets and will be charging for repairs.
Touch Disease was first reported back in August. An iFixit blog post detailed how repair specialists had been noting an influx of iPhone 6 handsets being sent in with unresponsive touchscreens and a flickering grey bar at the top of the display. The problem appeared to be a widespread hardware defect. Experts warned it could eventually affect every iPhone 6 device.
Three months and a class action lawsuit later, Apple has finally accepted that Touch Disease is real. However, rather than offer the free repairs users had hoped for, the company said its devices are not at fault. It blamed users for dropping phones "multiple times" onto hard services.
"Apple has determined that some iPhone 6 Plus devices may exhibit display flickering or Multi-Touch issues after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface and then incurring further stress on the device," said Apple.
Apple's explanation of Touch Disease doesn't fit with what the repair shops have been seeing. iPhone handsets that haven't been dropped or placed under excessive stress have experienced the problem. It is thought that the iPhone 6 Plus' famous tendency to bend when under pressure flexes the internal connections that attach the touch controller to the logic board. Over time, the join wears down and then breaks off completely, leaving the touchscreen unusable.
Touch Disease can be easily remedied at repair shops for a small expense. Apple is now offering its own discounted service price for affected handsets. The company will repair affected iPhone 6 Plus devices that are "in working order" for $149. iPhone 6 handsets are not covered by the lower repair price. Apple said only the larger Plus model is impacted by the touchscreen issues.
The $149 service offer isn't the free repair that owners have been asking for. It's still more expensive than some third-party repairs and isn't even available for the smaller iPhone 6 model. While the larger Plus edition is the most at risk of Touch Disease, there have been reports of its 4.7-inch sibling running into similar issues.
Micro-soldering experts had previously called on Apple to offer free warranty services to affected handsets. Apple's handling of the situation hasn't impressed customers. The company has known of the problem for months without taking action. Customers who have already had their phone repaired may be able to claim reimbursement from Apple though.
Apple said its support staff will be able to help iPhone 6 Plus owners who have already paid for a repair at an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. The reimbursement amount will equal the difference between the price paid for the original service and Apple's new $149 repair offer. Currently affected iPhone 6 Plus devices will be covered by the worldwide repair program for five years after the original date of purchase.
More about Apple, iPhone, iphone 6, iphone 6 plus, touch disease
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